Rockford America’s third most miserable city, according to ‘Forbes’ magazine
Online Staff Report
Forbes magazine has once again named Rockford among America’s Most Miserable Cities.
In a report released Thursday, Feb. 21, Forbes ranks Rockford the third-most miserable city in America, behind only Detroit and Flint, Mich. The magazine ranked Rockford the ninth most miserable city in America in 2012 and 14th most miserable in 2010. Rockford was not included among the magazine’s 20 most miserable cities in 2011.
“A three-decade decline in the manufacturing base has hurt Rockford’s economy and kept unemployment high,” the magazine wrote of Rockford. “Job fairs … are busy servicing the city’s 11.2 percent unemployed, which is one of the highest rates in the U.S. Another burden: high property tax rates.”
Chicago was ranked fourth, followed by Modesto, Calif. (fifth), Vallejo, Calif. (sixth), Warren, Mich. (seventh), Stockton, Calif. (eighth), Lake County, Ill. (ninth) and New York (10th).
Of its criteria for the rankings, the magazine wrote: “This year we examined nine factors for the 200 largest metro areas in the U.S. The metrics include the serious: violent crime, unemployment, foreclosures, taxes (income and property) and home prices. We also include less weighty, but still important quality-of-life issues like commute times and weather.
“We tweaked the methodology in this year’s list in response to feedback from readers, dropping our rankings of both pro sports team success and political corruption, since both were based on regional, rather than city-specific data,” the magazine said. “We also added a new measure — net migration — which we see as a clear gauge of whether or not residents feel a community is worth living in. Detroit, which ranked No. 2 last year, also would have finished No. 1 under the previous methodology (click here for more details about the criteria for the list).
In addition to consistently being ranked among the bottom of Money magazine’s 300 largest American cities in terms of livability and among the most miserable in America by Forbes, the website 24/7 Wall Street — published on several websites such as The Wall Street Journal online, MSN Money, Time.com, AOL Finance and Newsweek.com — ranked Rockford the ninth most dangerous city in America in 2011.
24/7 Wall Street used FBI crime data to calculate the number of crimes per 1,000 people. The site also used median income and unemployment numbers to compile the list of cities of more than 100,000. Statistics from that report showed Rockford had 14.5 violent crimes per 1,000 residents.
The unemployment rate for the Rockford metropolitan area was 11.2 percent in December 2012, the second-highest of the state’s 12 metro areas. The statewide unemployment rate in Illinois was 8.6 percent in December 2012, while the national unemployment rate was 7.9 percent in January.
The Forbes ranking of most miserable cities comes a little less than two months before voters will decide who will serve as Rockford’s next mayor. Mayor Larry Morrissey (I), who has been in office since 2005, is seeking a third term. His challengers are Democrat Jim Hughes and Republican Michael Kleen.
In a statement released Feb. 22, Kleen said: “We have tried everything but invest in the basics. Until we get serious about tackling crime, making it easier and less expensive to start a business, and fixing our streets and other infrastructure, we will continue to find ourselves on these ‘worst of’ lists.”
Posted Feb. 22, 2013
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